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John R. Krause

Class of 1986



John “J.R.” Krause, CHS ’86, is one of the most talented and successful artists who have graduated from Chelmsford High School. He has used his exceptional talent to have a truly impressive award-winning commercial career, as well as being a highly successful professional artist and author.

John’s artistic ability was on full display while a student at CHS. He was an exceptional student of Eric Hoover and Paula Brown. Paula says, “Chelmsford High School has had many great artists pass through its doors. I am proud to have been there to witness these young people launch out into the world. John certainly stands at the top of this group.” Eric mentioned, “He recognizes the importance of taking initiative and collaborating with other talented and creative people, with classmate, Janet Olney, in painting the Boston skyline mural at CHS, with classmate, Lance Wilder, in designing backgrounds and props for The Simpsons, with his wife in writing and illustrating their Poco Loco children’s books.”

While at CHS, he received an Honorable Mention award in the Massachusetts Congressional Art Competition as a sophomore, a Boston Globe Scholastic Art Award Silver Key as a junior, and was the recipient of the Globe’s Art Awards Certificate of Merit and won The Rebello Art Scholarship as a senior. The Rebello Award is a very prestigious and respected award in the CHS Art Department. You must be enrolled in the highly competitive AP Art program, create and submit a portfolio of original Art to be judged by a panel, then be interviewed by CHS Art instructors and professors from Montserrat Art College. No small feat to emerge as the winner!

He and a fellow senior proposed and created a mural that is currently on display in CHS Café I. Painting a mural as a senior was/is a coveted honor by CHS art students. It requires the obvious necessary talent, along with the ability to create the proposal and the dedication to complete a very impressive piece of art on a large scale. These murals are a unique CHS tradition; seen and enjoyed by students and teachers, as well as the community, each time they visit the school.

John was an involved CHS student as well, taking full advantage of his high school experience. He was a member of the Football and Volleyball teams, plus Ski and Art clubs. He studied Art at a summer program at the Rhode Island School of Design, and studied with Eric Hoover and Chelmsford Art Society’s Joan Shuda.

John graduated with a BFA from the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design in 1990. While at Rhode Island, John, due to his talent and vision, was able to study with noted and internationally acclaimed instructors in the fields of children’s book writing and illustrating and scientific illustration. He didn’t forget his roots at CHS. In 1990, he wrote and received a grant from the Chelmsford Art Society to create an alumni database of CHS art alumni and curated the first show of CHS Alumni Artists.

John’s professional career is TRULY impressive. He was selected to be a member of the design/animation department of the highly successful Fox animated TV show, “The Simpsons”, in 1991 and continues to work there today. He also has a long list of credits in well-known productions, along with numerous industry awards, which include SIX Prime Time Emmy Awards!

John has had a lifelong passion and interest in writing and illustrating children’s picture books. He and his wife, Maria, have teamed up to create two to date, “Poco Loco” and “Happy Birthday Poco Loco.” Both have been very well received. John has another book due to be released in the Spring of 2019 by Penguin Random House.

John is very active in his California community as well, always available to provide guidance and a helping hand to students in the area. Stephanie Archer of the Montana Avenue Branch Library in Santa Monica Library System says John has spoken at the library about illustration, animation careers and creating picture books, always as a willing and energetic volunteer.